25 Nov Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 63
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “Why? For the purposes of letting you to not have attachment. It is for this kind of ingenious function.”)
Now returning to the topic: No suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation the suffering, and no way to nirvana.
The first one is suffering. Who suffers?
If everyone has the concept of selflessness, we do not need to continue to talk about what comes next. However, if your mind still has “I” then this suffering gets most intriguing. Looking at your life on earth, about 95% of the time is suffering, the remaining 5% still has painstaking suffering. I see our life is suffering indeed. Regarding the phase of happiness, if you have a better blessed reward and a bit of money and like before, you still rack your brains and labor your body. So, there is no peace in the body and mind, therefore one truly suffers.
Thinking more delicately, does suffering exist? It seems not.
If in this life on earth you were born in Ethiopia, then that kind of hardship is already very difficult to endure. Nowadays our suffering can still be endured a little bit. Even if you fish for three days and sundry the nets for two days, and hope there is a chance for you to gasp for breath.
Are you able to catch any fish? You have already tried all methods, but from what I can see, it is very difficult. This is related to the “cause” of practicing giving in your previous lives.
If making money in this life is very difficult, and if you need to be under another’s disposal, then truly speaking, you also did not let others obtain and enjoy their deserved benefits in your previous lives. For some people, making money is very easy in this life; I have a friend’s friend who is just like this. My friend would contact me when he was not busy; the purpose for why he would contact me was because he felt unbalanced mentally. He worked very hard and had doubts about others who gained without having done any of the work, and he was full of complaints.
One day he called me and told me a story:
He said: “A person who is the same age as me and his son work in a company, and his son wanted to give pocket money to his mother, so he gave his mother many stocks. Later the stock skyrocketed up, and those stocks are now worth more than ten million US dollars. Their residence is now worth approximately six to seven million dollars.”
My friend was upset and could not think it through.
He could not stand it and said: “I also earn money, but my house is not good as his, and his pocket money is several times of mine!”
I then told him: “Why do you not compare with people who are worse than you? You fall short from the best, but you are better than the worst. Your house is quite nice. His money was the result of practicing giving from his previous lives, it is easy for him to have it back.”
But my friend did not believe in this principle. This is a true story that happened not that long ago.
The reason that I want to mention it is because some people are always mentally unbalanced. In fact, there is a reason behind it; much more, these unbalances are caused by yourself and your thinking. Life is already very short and very suffering; you should treat yourself leniently and not make life difficult for yourself, and moreover there is no such thing as life fundamentally.
“No life, also no ending of life”, you need to know how to apply, to apply at your every movement, to apply during your activated mind with arising thought, then this is called cultivation practice. This kind of cultivation practice condition is called Prajnaparamita, like using wisdom to cross to the enlightenment shore – this is the outside meaning. In fact, your mind is under the state of no phenomenon (as the impermanent existence nature) and the mode of existing is one and undivided. No phenomenon and the mode of existence: no phenomenon is the truth, the mode of existing is illusion, the true and the illusion exist simultaneously. This body of ours, if you say it is impermanent existence nature, it is correct. It is assembled by cells, and after it dissolves then there is nothing. Currently the form assembles temporarily, to have possession for the time being.
Thinking further about your seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing; in other words, are your feelings real?
For instance, this table is no good, we kick it, is it real?
You say you do not understand life, is it real?
If according to the concept of Prajnaparamita, all phenomena are manifested by you. Suffering is also manifested by you, in additional everyone suffers together. Therefore, the great value of a person is the preciousness of this short life of yours; the sooner you apply the concept of being disillusioned with everything in your living, the faster you can be enlightened to comprehend the truth about the universe. If only you have one breath left, if you use the concept of being disillusioned with everything and let go of all, then you have hope.
What kind of hope? The brightness. Brightness is when your body and mind has attained a balance of purity, also balanced emotionally and rationally. Emotion then transforms to become wisdom, and rationality transforms to become your Dharma Body, it is that life fundamental essence with non-creation (beginning) and non-extinction (ending) in the universe. In Buddhism it is called the Dharma Body, as Tathagata, Buddha nature, etc.
Therefore, you look at life and the first thing to talk about is suffering. There are many kinds and countless sufferings. Cause of sufferings, barely enough to explain as assembling, where all sufferings assemble in one place to become like a sea known as the suffering sea.
Where is this suffering sea? It is right in your activating mind with arising thought.
The outside world has no relation with you. The outside situation, whether others dislike you, scold you, or let you down, these are all totally your way of thinking because you still have the concept of “you”.
Where is the suffering sea? It is the attachment inside your mind. If you think it is the suffering sea, then you will feel unwell.
The ancient people have a proverb:
Nothing under the heavens matter until a foolish person messes thing up for oneself.
A wise person will never mess things up for oneself.